Sexual Health – The Morning after pill is a need among other long neglected sexual health matters

Alternattiva Demokratika is in favour of the introduction of the Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP), informally known as the Morning After Pill.

Dr Claire Azzopardi Lane, AD spokesperson on Civil Rights, Disability and Social issues, said: “The introduction of the Emergency Contraceptive Pill should be planned in a measured way. The ECP on its own will prevent, in an emergency a prospective pregnancy, but will not change any underlying psychosocial problems which tend to lead to unplanned pregnancy.”

ECP cannot be used on a long term basis since it has a 30% failure rate, but it can prove an effective last minute contraception in emergency cases of contraceptive failure or sexual accidents. In cases of rape, it is ideal since it potentially protects the victim from suffering any long term consequences.

Ann Marie Azzopardi General Secretary Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ (ADŻ) said “The administration of the ECP should be accompanied by a desperately needed reform in sexual health and education policy. ECP should be available for free through the national health service, in particular to persons from vulnerable backgrounds. ECP should be available to anyone over 16 years of age. It should also however be made available to under 16 year olds subject to medical supervision. Women dispensed with ECP should be offered sexual health counselling.  There is a need for a positive, shameless sexual health campaign accompanying this measure.”

AD is adamantly against the negative portrayal of contraceptive issues and female sexual health. The negative images attributed to sexually active women might hinder young women from seeking support.

Morning-after-pill-Emergency-contraception

Il-Morning After Pill hija bzonn fost ħafna miżuri oħra fis-saħħa sesswali li ilhom jiġu traskurati.

Alternattiva Demokratika hija favorevoli għall-introduzzjoni tal-pillola kontraċettiva ta’ emerġenza.

Dr Claire Azzopardi Lane, il-kelliema għad-drittijiet ċivili, diżabilità u affarijiet soċjali qalet: “L-introduzzjoni tal-Pillola Kontraċettiva t’Emerġenza (PKE) għandha ssir b’għaqal. Il-PKE weħidha tista’ twaqqaf mara milli tinqabad tqila f’mumenti ta’ emergenza, però ma ssolvix problemi oħra moħbija ta’ natura psikosoċjali li jistgħu jkunu il-kawża ta’ tqala mhux ippjanata.”

“Il-PKE ma tistax tintuża fit-tul, għaliex għandha rata ta’ falliment ta 30%. Il-PKE però, tista’ sservi bħala l-aħħar ċans f’każ li kontraċettivi oħra jfallu jew ikun hemm inċidenti sesswalli. F’każijiet ta’ stupru, il-PKE hija ideali għaliex potenzjalment tipproteġi l-vittma milli tbati l-konsegwenzi għal għomorha.”

Anna Azzopardi, Segretarja Ġenerali tal-Alternattiva Demokratika Żgħażagħ (ADŻ) żiedet: “Apparti l-introduzzjoni tal-PKE, hemm bżonn urġenti ta’ riforma fil-politka tas-saħħa u l-edukazzjoni sesswali. Dawn il-miżuri għandhom imorru flimkien. Il-PKE għandha tkun disponibbli b’xejn permezz tas-Servizzi tas-Saħħa Pubbliċi, speċjalment għal nies soċjalment vulnerabbli. Il-PKE għandha tkun disponibbli lil kull min għandu iktar minn 16-il sena u tingħata f’emergenza taħt superviżjoni medika lil min għandu inqas minn 16-il sena. Nisa li jieħdu il-PKE mis-saħħa pubblika għandhom jiġu offruti servizzi ta’ Counselling Sesswali. Din il-miżura jenħtieġ li tiġi akkumpanjata b’kampanja sesswali pożittiva u mingħajr elementi ta’ mistħija.”

AD turi tħassib li ħafna drabi kwistjonijiet ta’ kontraċezzjoni u saħħa sesswali femminili jiġu mpenġija f’dawl negattiv. Stampa negattiva ta’ dawn l-aspetti importanti fis-saħħa jistgħu iwaqqfu lin-nisa milli jfittxu għajnuna fuq il-materja.

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On Noodles, Butter and Manicures

I keenly followed Xarabank’s debate last Friday regarding poverty and expenditure. The monthly basket of food presented costed €954 monthly. I will not go into analysing whether that is feasible even for the normal working class/lower middle class income yet, but at a glance my impression is that that expenditure is A LOT for an amount of single income households. The assumption here is that in a normal household both spouses would work, thus not allowing for emergencies, single parent households, bad times etc. So, in other words, the expectation is for people to live on two incomes.

What fascinated me during the Xarabank debate were comments from some notorious right wing leaners, saying that the Caritas shopping basket was too lavish. The appropriate reply from Caritas was, that whatever was put in that basket, were the basic requirements in order to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle, through adequate nutrition.

Three things come to mind right now:

  1. Most people who are on minimum wage or relief benefits, usually forfeit high protein foods such as meat and fish, thus relying on high carb food. So much so, the Eurobarometer’s scale of poverty is usually dependant on how much meat household include in their weekly meal plan.
  2. Access to fresh produce is limited, since bulk buying preserved and additive laden food is cheaper. Fresh produce can include alternate sources of proteins such as beans as well as vegetables which are a good source of healthy vitamins.
  3. A running gag among newlyweds going through hard ships is that they go through times of eating ‘only noodles’ to save up.
  4. The EU aid in the form of food given at various local communities, quite too often, rice, pasta, crackers and preserves. Very healthy.

I can imagine it being acceptable for a couple of newlyweds to go through a month or two of eating only noodles. Perhaps because one of them lost a job and they have to scrimp and save until the unfortunate spouse finds a job. Or because there is a major expense coming up.  Whilst unhealthy, for a month or so, that is ok.

 

What is unacceptable is the expectation that a family of four, with children who definitely need to be properly fed and nourished for their own growth, are expected to live on an unbalanced diet. One reason why people in poverty quite often appear to be ‘fat’ is because they are eating too much carbohydrate rich foods, and less proteins and less fresh vegetables and fruits.

Now let’s go back to another comment. The usual manicure comment. Il-‘kapriċċ’ – the treat that people have every so often. Because single mothers spend their money on nail arts – the old age shame.  I am not condoning the excessive spending on extravagance, but we need to focus on the original meaning of the Maltese word ‘kapriċċ’ – an occasional treat in which to indulge oneself as a break from hardships. It is unreasonable, physically and psychologically unhealthy to expect that a family of four on minimum wage should live eternally on noodles, butter and under-nutritious food, whilst perpetually denying themselves of the occasional treat, such as a trip to the cinema, a beauty treatment etc. Humans have the right to a good and enjoyable quality of life. ­

People at the lower end spectrum of salary earnings will remain. There will always be people who are unable to work for their money, or learn further skills to increase their earnings. There will always be a need for someone to do low income jobs. It economically unfeasible to expect a society where everyone graduates with flying colours from university in order to afford a decent living. People on lower salaries need to feel safe in knowing that they will have a good quality of life regardless of their income. The cost of living needs to be accessible to everyone.

What are we going to do about it?

Anna Azzopardi, ADŻ Malta Green Youth General Secretary

The consequences of littering & dumping:

Littering and Dumping in public areas, although illegal, are still a widespread practice in Malta.  Imagine going out for a walk and finding yourself in a public landfill.  This is not science fiction but everyday reality in many parts of the Maltese countryside.

Litter and dumping waste  have many consequences, primarily for nature (the biosphere), which we form part of.  Dumping, in the first place, causes damage to the pre-existing natural habitat and degrades the ecosystem of the area.  Furthermore, rubbish may also pose a threat to certain species, such as reptiles, amphibians and other small animals, as they might become trapped in plastic bags or aluminium cans, suffocate or suffer cuts.  Disposing of plastic and other synthetic materials, have particular negative impacts, due to the fact that these degrade over a very long period of time and therefore last very long in nature (have a high environmental persistence).  When these degrade, they become smaller but much more numerous in fragments.  This phenomenon is the prime cause of the presence of micro-plastics, a particular type of waste which causes damage to birds, fish and many other organisms, including ourselves.

Dumping waste also increases the risk of fire and the emission of dangerous toxins such as dioxins and furans, which are significantly harmful to human health.  Extinguishing such fires often requires large amounts of water, which is increasingly becoming a scarce resource.  Additionally, human effort to control such fires might compromise the availability of Civil Protection Workers in other emergencies.  Finally, litter may contain toxic waste which may percolate towards the groundwater table. The effects of pollution on this common resource which is used for drinking, irrigation, cleaning and other uses; will be suffered by the water users.

A messy environment does not only degrade our countryside, but also affects our psychology.  People feel more relaxed and can enjoy the countryside to a greater extent when it is clean and free from litter and pollution.

For these reasons we as ADŻ, urge the public to put their litter in the trash cans and appeal to the government to take further action to prevent illegal dumping, especially in our amazing countryside, for us to enjoy.  We call for education and awareness campaigns on littering and dumping (such as the commendable Garby and Tidy & Għalfejn Tħammeġ Pajjiżek?) to reach all age groups of society, starting from the youngest to the elderly.

James Gabarretta & Pascal Aloisio, ADŻ Malta Green Youth